Fox News is STILL Obsessed With Hillary Clinton’s Email, But ‘New’ Evidence is Laughably Lame

There’s a lot going on in the news lately. Two hurricanes have trampled major U.S. cities. North Korea is rattling nuclear sabers. Terrorists have attacked again in London. Congress is struggling with DACA, tax reform, and yet another attempt to kill Obamacare. And special counsel Robert Mueller continues to close in on Donald Trump.

Hillary Clinton

Very little of this bodes well for Trump. His approval rating is still sliding down into record low territory. He has tried pathetically to change the subject with typically Trumpian attacks and juvenile insults aimed at capturing media attention. To no avail. So predictably, Fox News is riding to the rescue. They aired a segment Friday featuring an ultra-right wing guest who claimed to have new emails that prove Hillary Clinton guilty of pay-to-play.

The Fox News fetish over Clinton’s email is nearly psychotic. Despite years of trying, they have never produced anything that was remotely illegal. And it’s not for lack of effort. Fox News has devoted countless hours of valuable airtime to this subject, all aimed at defaming Clinton. And now, ten months after the election, they are still at it. It’s a demonstration of desperation. They simply have nothing else to distract the public from Trump’s disastrous reign of error.

On Friday Fox News hosted Tom Fitton of the conservative Judicial Watch (video below). Fitton claimed to have acquired new emails through the Freedom of Information Act that revealed wrongdoing by Clinton. The problem is, during the entire segment he didn’t produce a single one, or even offer a quote from any of the allegedly incriminating material.

Fitton began by accusing Clinton of having lied to Congress about turning over all her emails to the State Department. But the “new” emails he claimed to have were from the State Department, so obviously they had them. Then Fitton asserted that many of these emails contained classified information. But he didn’t offer any proof of that. And previous similar claims all turned out to be false. The gist of this appearance on Fox was to rehash the old email business, while presenting nothing new or relevant.

FITTON: Going back again to the pay-to-play scandal, it’s email after email of Doug Band, who was a Clinton Foundation top official, worked with the Clinton’s closely, coordinating and working with Huma Abedin to take care of favors for Clinton Foundation donors who were going through Band to get access and benefits from the state Department. Visas to Cuba. Meetings in Singapore. Other types of activity like that. It’s there in black and white.

None of that interminably run-on sentence contributed anything to the store of knowledge of this subject. There was nothing that could be described as proof of wrongdoing. What Fitton did say was rather mundane. He seems to think that the legitimate operations of the State Department (visas, diplomatic meetings) are inherently criminal. But he offered nothing to connect any of Clinton’s actions with her family foundation. No one ever has. And despite his assertion that “It’s there in black and white,” it actually wasn’t. Why didn’t he bring any of these supposedly damaging emails to the studio?

Fitton went on to make other random and unsupported allegations. He called the Comey investigation “a sham.” At one point he rolled completely off the rails by stating that Comey was fired because “no one trusted him.” But even Trump admitted that he fired Comey because of “the Russia stuff.” Then Fitton even undercut his own argument that this was new information by admitting that “The Justice Department knows about this.” Apparently he believes that Trump’s Justice Department, under the supervision of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, is covering up for “crooked” Hillary Clinton.

Clearly Fox News has run out of phony scandals to peddle. So they are reprising their hits from yesteryear. It’s the classic oldies network for Deplorables who still want to “Lock her up.” No wonder Fox’s ratings are lagging behind MSNBC. I suspect that even some Fox viewers are tiring of this rotting heap of garbage and are looking for some fresh news. And if this is the best Fox can do as they try to play defense for Trump, the President better start worrying about his future move from the White House to the Big House.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Jonesin’ For Benghazi: Fox News Takes Another Hit From Their Stash Of ‘Smoking Guns’

With all of the media attention tightly focused on San Bernardino’s conjugal killers, you may have forgotten about a little pseudo-scandal that was previously the foremost fetish of Fox News and other right-wing media. Driven from the front pages was the Benghazi affair that had been the cudgel with which Fox News was beating up on Hillary Clinton for the past couple of years. Well, it’s back.

Benghazi

Thanks to the release of an email obtained by the rightist muckrakers at Judicial Watch, Fox News is once again satisfying its lust for the Libyan outpost that was attacked in 2012. And even though every investigation, including those conducted by Republicans in Congress, has found no wrongdoing by Clinton, President Obama, or any other government official, the obsession to cultivate a narrative that indicts Clinton for imaginary crimes remains in effect.

The email that is stirring the Benghazi stew is reported to be from the Defense Department to Clinton’s deputy chief of staff. Fox is claiming that it contradicts testimony made to Congress by former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta. The email said in part…

“We have identified the forces that could move to Benghazi. They are spinning up as we speak.”

From that snippet, and absent any of the sort of research that real journalists do, Fox News immediately designated the email a “Smoking Gun” It was covered on Fox & Friends by former Survivor contestant Elisabeth Hasselbeck and retired judge Andrew Napolitano:

Hasselbeck: A newly released email from the Pentagon may be the smoking gun in the Benghazi investigation. The email addressed to top aides of Hillary Clinton shows the United States military was gearing up to respond to the Benghazi terror attacks. A message from then-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s chief of staff reads this, quote, “We have identified the forces that could move into Benghazi. They are spinning up as we speak,” end quote. The email contradicts statements made by Panetta, who told the Senate after the attack that there was no time to get forces to Libya to try to save the people there. It now looks like the only thing standing between the terrorists who overran the compound and the four Americans who lost their lives was a green light from the State Department. Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano is here with reaction. This is big.

Napolitano: This is huge. And it’s extremely troublesome for the Obama administration today and for Mrs. Clinton.

Actually, this is just another in a long string of symptoms that can only be attributed to Smoking Gun Delirium Disorder. And every instance of Fox’s alleged smoking guns has turned out to be shooting soap bubbles. In this case it doesn’t take much work to determine that this email has no real significance. It does nothing to contradict Panetta’s testimony, in fact, it affirms it. Panetta explicitly cited the same military resources identified in the email when he appeared before Congress. And while Fox says that there was no response, the facts show that there were military deployments. However, neither his testimony nor the email indicates that the military response could come in time to intervene in the attack.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

There is no doubt that this new smoking gun will suffer the same fate as all the others. Despite their desperate yearning for some nuclear fallout to land on Obama and/or Clinton, Fox News will come away disappointed. But that will not dissuade them from continuing to throw mud at the objects of their hate. They know that their audience will only retain the misinformation that was broadcast. And that’s because they drop the subject after it fails to advance their narrative. That’s why you haven’t heard about Benghazi since the last false email story. And it’s why you hear about it from Fox now that this story has been debunked.

Fox News

Scandal Monger Darrell Issa Returns To Fox News To Pitch New IRS E-Mail Lies

Since there is nothing else going on in the world, like terrorist armies marching through Syria and Iraq, or Russian convoys crossing into Ukraine, and since domestically the nation isn’t embroiled in controversies over unarmed black teenagers murdered by the police, or thousands of immigrant children suffering harsh conditions along the southern border, Fox News has found the free time time to entertain yet another fable about non-existent IRS emails that allegedly expose massive government corruption.

Darrell Issa Witch Hunter

Darrell Issa, chairman of the Laughing Stock Committee (aka the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform), ventured into dangerously friendly territory last night when he was interviewed by Greta Van Susteren of Fox News. Van Susteren introduced Issa and before she could even ask a question he said:

“Good evening, Greta, and thank you for covering what’s emerging to be just an amazing sequence of cover-up, delay, denial, even what now appears to be a false statement from the new IRS commissioner in which he said he moved ‘heaven and Earth’ to get us Lois Lerner’s lost emails. And now we find out from the Judicial Watch that in fact they exist, but they simply haven’t been asked for. They’re too burdensome. They do exist. And we look forward to finding how the commissioner can say they don’t exist, when, in fact, they do.”

That was Issa’s opening remarks after Van Susteren said nothing more than “Good evening, sir.” Clearly Issa feels comfortable commandeering the program and delivering unchallenged monologues. Just as clearly he isn’t reticent about deliberately lying in order to advance a phony scandal that he has been hustling for years without producing any scrap of evidence. And as for his insistence that the emails do, in fact, exist – no Darrell, in fact they do not.

The “amazing sequence of cover-up” to which Issa is referring was fed to him by the right-wing Judicial Watch, who claimed to have received a “jaw-dropping” revelation in a conversation with an administration official. Judicial Watch president, Tom Fitton, alleged that “The Obama administration had been lying to the American people about Lois Lerner’s missing emails.” However, when contacted for a response the administration flatly denied the charge saying that Judicial Watch’s statement was “off-base” and that Judicial Watch was “mischaracterizing what the government had said.” They continued…

“There is no newly divulged back-up system that was not previously known about,” the official said. “Government lawyers were simply referring to the back-up system at the IRS that Commissioner Koskinen had already disclosed.”

In other words, Judicial Watch failed to understand, or purposefully misconstrued, what they were told by the government official. Never mind that the White House had previously spoken to this issue and laid to rest any discrepancies. But that didn’t stop Judicial Watch from funneling their falsehoods to Issa, a willing participant in the Wingnut Deceit Brigade. Issa then hightails it to Fox News to insure that this lie gets the broadest distribution possible. And to make certain that it is widely dispersed, Fox also aired similar segments on at least two other programs, including their signature nightly news show with Bret Baier.

This is how the Conservative Media Circus whips up manufactured hysteria over phony scandals. The fake story is then blasted across the right-wing mediasphere with help from their partisan partners like Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze, Newsmax, National Review, Breitbart News, Townhall, NewsBusters, and the Koch brothers affiliated Washington Free Beacon. Before long a nation of gullible Tea Party waifs are refueled with high octane bullshit, destroying any hopes for intelligent, fact-based debate. Welcome to Rupert Murdoch’s America.

Fox Nation Revives ACORN Phobia While Mitt Romney Hires Corrupt Consultant

It’s been two years since ACORN closed up shop after being falsely accused of voter fraud. But right-wing obsessives refuse to abandon their neuroses once they latch onto them. Never mind the fact that ACORN was exonerated by numerous independent investigations and that the only criminal conviction to result from the harassment was that of James O’Keefe, who produced the dishonestly edited videos that slandered ACORN’s reputation.

Fox Nation, nevertheless, persists in fear mongering about the defunct organization as if it had zombie-like powers of reanimation. Yesterday they featured an article that sought to renew the dread that conservatives still harbor in their hearts for an enterprise that mainly helped people to participate in their democracy and guided them through complex federal mortgage assistance programs.

Fox Nation - ACORN

The article relied on a report from the conservative Judicial Watch, who alleged that a former ACORN director was the recipient of federal funds for an Illinois program that helps struggling homeowners make their mortgage payments. It refers to ACORN as “scandal-plagued” and a “corrupt leftist community group.” Of course, neither of those assertions are true and both Fox Nation and Judicial Watch know it.

The problem, as explained by Judicial Watch, is that a “sub-component” of the Illinois Housing Development Authority received a federal grant, and that a director of the program, Joe McGavin, had performed the same role at ACORN. Which simply means that he has experience with helping people with federal assistance and is, therefore, well qualified for his job. But to the Fox Nationalists it means that he is a “suspect candidate,” despite never having been associated with any impropriety.

Meahwhile, at Mitt Romney’s campaign, someone with an actual record of dirty dealings has been added to the team. According to Lee Fang at the Republic Report, Nathan Sproul is “a political consultant with a long history of destroying Democratic voter registration forms and manipulating ballot initiatives.” With a new company name, Lincoln Strategies, Sproul is on the Romney payroll presumably to engage in activities similar to these:

  • In Oregon and Nevada, Sproul and Associates was investigated for destroying Democratic voter registration forms. The Bush-Cheney 2004 presidential campaign paid Sproul $7.4 million for campaign work. [CNN, 10/14/04; KGW News, 10/13/04; East Valley Tribune, 09/07/06]
  • In Nevada, people who registered as Democrats with Sproul and Associates found their names absent from the voter registration rolls. [Reno Gazette-Journal, 10/29/04]
  • During the 2006 midterm elections, Wal-Mart banned Lincoln Strategies for partisan voter registration efforts in Tennessee. The Republican National Committee had hired the firm. [Associated Press, 08/24/06]
  • In Arizona, Lincoln Strategies employed a variety of deceptive tactics — including systematically lying about the bill — to push a ballot initiative to eviscerate the state’s clean elections law. [Salon, 10/21/04]
  • Lincoln Strategies, then employed by the Republican Party, was behind efforts to place Ralph Nader on the ballot in states such as Arizona. [American Prospect, 06/25/04]

Fox News and their conservative comrades have been hyperventilating about voter fraud for months, although they have never been able to cite actual examples of it. But they continue to raise it as an issue in order to push legislation that has the purpose of disenfranchising legitimate voters who just happen to lean Democratic.

The controversy surrounding ACORN involved allegations of phony names on voter registration applications. However, it was ACORN who alerted officials to the presence of those improper forms and, in any event, they could not, and did not, result in any fraudulent voting. In fact, ACORN itself was the victim of that activity because they were paying registration gatherers per form and the gatherers were falsifying them in order to earn more money. It did not serve any purpose of ACORN to submit forms that did represent actual voters.

On the other hand, Sproul’s corruption had the effect of preventing Democrats from being able to exercise their right to vote by deceiving them into believing that they were registered. But when they got to the polls they discovered that their registrations were never submitted.

And the man responsible for that is now a consultant to Mitt Romney’s campaign. Where is the story on that by Fox News?

Comic Relief: Judicial Watch Reveals White House Bias Against Fox News

Judicial Watch describes itself as a “public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption.” Today they announced that they have uncovered documents from Obama’s Department of the Treasury revealing evidence of an anti-Fox News bias within the White House.

Holy moly! What a scoop. Perhaps with a little more digging these intrepid muckrakers might have even discovered the anti-Obama bias within Fox News.

First of all, having an anti-Fox News bias is not in any way indicative of government corruption. If anything, it demonstrates a clearheaded analysis of the media giant. Fox News is a 24 hour hate machine aimed at President Obama, Democrats, and progressive politics overall. It would be surprising (and stupid) if the White House were not aware of the hostility spewed by Fox News, and did not take measures to defend itself.

Judicial Watch’s pretense to independence is about as honest as the Fox News slogan “fair and balanced.” In their press release announcing the documents [pdf] they received from a Freedom of Information Act request, they carefully highlighted only the few bits that reflected poorly on the communications staff at the Treasury Department. Note that none of the emails they retrieved were actually from the White House although it is the White House they blame for the bias.

The issue encompassing this pseudo-controversy was whether Fox News was excluded from interviewing the electrifying Kenneth Feinberg, the so-called “executive pay czar” administering the TARP program. Judicial Watch spun the story in precisely the same way that Fox News did when it occurred two years ago. The Fox angle was that they had been deliberately denied press access to Feinberg at the behest of the White House. Judicial Watch cited excerpts from the emails like “…we’d prefer if you skip Fox please.” And “I am putting some dead fish in the fox cubby.”

The first citation was a direct response to a question that specifically asked whether there would be time for Fox to conduct an interview. The answer was not a rejection of Fox in particular, it was just a response that indicated there would not be enough time. MSNBC was also not in the queue for an interview at the time. The second citation was clearly a joke by staffers who were tiring of the hard time they get from Fox.

Judicial Watch failed to put these emails in context. Even worse, their press release never even mentioned the many emails that indicated that Fox had never been excluded. In fact, Fox had not requested an interview, and when they eventually did, they got one. Here are some of the excerpts that Judicial Watch left out:

[Page 5] Fox News hadn’t made a request for an interview – certainly not to me [Jake Siewert] or Jenni who was handling. When called nets to pool, a producer did raise concern about why Fox wasn’t on the first round list. To accommodate more interviews – we had dozens of requests – we cut back Feinberg’s off-camera presser and moved a Hill briefing to create a bigger window of time and added more interviews, including Fox. Once we had more time we specifically called Major [Garrett] and dragged him out of the WH briefing to see if he could do an interview. Still no request from Fox. Major had time, came to the briefing and got his interview, same slot as everyone else.

[Page 14] Important to note that Major never requested an interview. We asked him.

[Page 18] They didn’t ask for an interview – and when they finally did ask, they got one. I know it makes for a much less interesting story but it’s true.

[Page 29] I told Major it was a non-issue. And that the WH was fine with us including them (in the end.) Anita [Dunn] specifically told me she was OK.

[Page 49-50] Press Aide: Major – We are able to offer you 5 minutes with Feinberg in a round robin following the pen and pad. Will you do the interview?
Garrett: I am stuck in the WH briefing. Will call as soon as I get out.

Despite the clear evidence that there was no effort to exclude Fox News, Judicial Watch’s press release is already circulating through the conservative media merry-go-round and peddling a narrative that is demonstrably false. This is nothing more than an attempt to tarnish the White House for something they had nothing to do with and which was not even done at all. They are confident that their audience will be satisfied with the dishonest press release and will never read through the 81 pages of emails posted on their web site.

And as if to cap off the hilarity of this nonsensical melodrama, Judicial Watch included an email [page 33] that must have been swept up in their request, but was not related to the issue at hand. It was an email from a producer of the Glenn Beck Show seeking to determine if the WH was trying to “force God off our coinage.” That conspiratorial absurdity nicely frames how ridiculous and phony this whole affair is. If we didn’t know better we might assume the whole thing was a story from The Onion.